Entertainment Music

UB40 ‘forced’ to serve Red Red Wine

ATSRO, one of the founding members of UB40, performing at the Stanbic Music Festival last Friday. PICTURE; ANGELA NTENTABUNGA

PERHAPS because it is not their original song, the UB40 featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey thought it wise not to play the song during their performance at the Stanbic Music Festival at the Lusaka Polo Club last Friday, but the audience would have none of it.
The audience wanted Red Red Wine.
The band should have been briefed that this is one of their most popular songs on these sides and there was no way their set would have been complete without it.
The band was compelled to come back on stage after they had finished their set in order to perform Red Red Wine, which the audience that refused to move an inch, demanded in no uncertain terms.
The band had to just oblige.
It is understandable why the band was reluctant to perform Red Red Wine, which featured on their album Labour of Love, and made it to number one on both the Billboard 100 and the UK charts.
While the song has been covered by many artistes, it was originally written, performed and recorded by American singer Neil Diamond. But to the credit of UB40 or indeed Astro, who added a toast to the original song, it is the reggae-flavoured version that Diamond favours among all the covers, and he frequently performs it.
Even as the public argued on online platforms on whether this was the original UB40 or not, fans were still able to make their way to the Lusaka Polo Club in huge numbers although they were still unable to fill the entire grounds.
In fact, the standard arena, costing K500, had huge empty spaces while the K1,000-VVIP was completely full.
It looked more like a corporate affair than a festival in a truest sense.
Those in the standard arena were somewhat too far from the stage and had little connection (if you know what this  means in the business) with the musicians on stage. Most of them had to depend on the screens to follow the proceedings that, interestingly, were being captured on video by most people in the VVIP and VIP area.
Yet, some man purporting to be UB40s manager or something had the bravery to stop the Weekend Mail photographer from taking still pictures even when she was accredited to do so.
And therein lies the problem with international shows; often times, there is a tendency to undermine the local media by wanting them to be at the mercy of the organisers.
To all intents and purposes, the Weekend Mail photographer had observed all the guidelines (which in any case undermined her work as she was required to take pictures of the event from one angle; who does that!), yet the so-called manager had the boldness to disregard the very same guidelines.
Was he part of the security as well?
Security, which should have been given the same guidelines, equally failed to uphold them and instead sided with the manager to an extent of threatening the photographer whose sole purpose of being there was to do her job, and that is to take photographs.
But while all talk has been about UB40, there is no way the script about the Stanbic Music Festival can ever be complete without mentioning the Cape Town-based Zambian violinist Caitlin, who brought so much energy to the show especially on Friday after a drab performance by JK, who looked not to have been prepared for his performance.
Anyway, next time UB40 is here, they should be told that there is no way their performance can be complete without Red Red Wine even after performing hits like Falling in Love with You, Here I Am, One in Ten, Homely Girl, Rat in the Kitchen, Impossible Love, Sing Our Own Song and If It Happens Again.
It should never happen again.

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